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Real estate woes of the ‘Real Housewives’

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Real estate, like reality television, has a highly voyeuristic aspect to it. While some portion of us are concerned with keeping up with the Joneses, a vastly greater number just crave to know whether the Joneses have granite counters, or whether Mr. Jones is (as rumor suggests) a hoarder.This voyeurism contains elements of schadenfreude, that snarky satisfaction of knowing that your fellow citizen is worse off than you believed -- ideally, at least as bad off as you. This is the open house-snooping, medicine cabinet-exploration-induced comfort we often take when we stop comparing the interiors of our own lives (and homes) with the dressed-up exteriors of our friends -- the realization that they live like we do. On the flip side, real estate voyeurism also contains elements of fantasy. This is why luxury home sites get so much traffic, why TV shows like "Cribs" are so heavily viewed. Viewers like to escape their own world of leaky faucets and wonky door knobs to ...